How to Be Both by Ali Smith wins the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction

Ali Smith has won the 2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction for her incredible novel How To Be Both.

imageSmith was also one of the favourites to take out the Man Booker Prize, pipped at the post by Australia’s Richard Flanagan.

The novel tells the stories of two characters: a contemporary British teen and an Italian Renaissance artist. It was published in two versions, half of the copies beginning with the contemporary story and half with the Renaissance story.

How to Be Both was joined on the shortlist for the award by Rachel Cusk’s Outline, Laline Paull’s The Bees, Kamila Shamsie’s A God in Every Stone, Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread and Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests.

Grab your copy of How to Be Both here

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How to Be Both

by Ali Smith

Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else.

How to be Both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s.

Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

Grab your copy of How to Be Both here

Drum roll…. the winner of our Avengers pack is…

Because of the awesomeness that is The Avengers: Age of Ultron, we decided to give away an Avengers pack. All you had to do to enter was buy one of our select Avengers titles by May 31st.


avengersAvengers: Rage of Ultron

by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena (Illustrator)

It was another glorious victory for the Mighty Avengers. Good triumphed over evil and Ultron was shot into space, never to be seen again. Or so they thought. Now, years later, the homicidal artificial intelligence – so long devoted to ending life on Earth – has a new world to conquer…one with its own horrific legacy.

When Titan, birthplace of Thanos, falls, Planet Ultron rises in its place! Thanos’ brother Starfox must seek the aid of his former allies – but the Avengers he finds are image1radically different from the ones he once knew.

Among them is Ultron’s creator Giant-Man – and when Hank Pym confronts his now planet-sized “son,” the responsibilities of fatherhood have never loomed so large. Rick Remender (Uncanny Avengers) and Jerome Opena (Avengers) unleash the full robotic rage of Ultron on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

 

…and the winner is:

C.Bull, Lesmurdie, WA

Check out our Marvel Avengers: The Age of Ultron series here


Congratulations to the winner!

Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page!

promotions

 

Lisa Joy, author of Yes, Chef!, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Lisa Joy

author of Yes, Chef! 

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born in Sydney, I spent a good deal of my childhood at dance class. At 21, deciding I wasn’t cut out for the famished life of a ballerina, I moved to London where I lived for seven years and worked in the restaurant industry, in fashion retail and as the production assistant for the British TV series Midsomer Murders. I started writing short stories in high school but didn’t consider a career as a novelist until I moved to Melbourne six years ago.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

A ballerina, an actor and then a writer. I guess I’ve always been a dreamer. My imagination made childhood games more interesting and adult disappointments easier to deal with.

Author Lisa Joy

Author: Lisa Joy

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

Having a dream unrealised was better than having a dream that failed. I was basically too scared to put my writing out there for a long time and found it hard even to show friends my work. Now I know the only way to grow and become better is to try and keep trying.

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

I saw Van Gogh’s Bridge in the Rain at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and was captivated. I began reading all I could about Japan and hope to one day spend time there and write a travel and food diary.

I found Joanne Harris’s foodie novels, Chocolat and Five Quarters of the Orange very inspiring. Her writing is laced with delicious foodie descriptions. It’s how I hope my writing will be some day with practise.

Salman Rushdie introduced me to magical realism with Midnight’s Children. Reading his novels makes me want to be a better writer and I can imagine myself writing something that combines food, friendship and love in a magical way.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel? 

I love the escapism that novels and creative non-fiction provide. I enjoy learning something new about a people, place or time and fiction can provide that in an entertaining and emotional way. Novels and memoir are what I read most and I hope to write both one day.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Yes, Chef! is set in the world of high-end restaurants and celebrity chefs. It’s told through the eyes of the PA to London’s most notorious chef, a smart and sassy woman who is approaching thirty and trying to figure out what she really wants from life while getting carried away in a wirlwind of reality cooking shows, opening nights and kitchen scandals.

Grab a copy of Lisa’s new book Yes, Chef! here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

An authentic insight into the foodie world from someone who’s been there and lived it. I’ve worked in a number of different roles and establishments in the restaurant industry including being PA to a well-known Melbourne chef. I think readers will want to call up their best friends after reading Yes, Chef! and head out for a nice meal and a bottle of prosecco. Either that or they’ll want to take a foodie trip to Italy or Istanbul as my heroine, Becca Stone, does.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?midnight-s-children-vintage-classics

There are many fiction writers I admire greatly – Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Joanne Harris, Kate Morton, but having met Fiona McIntosh I must say I admire her enthusiasm, energy and tenacity. I attended her fiction masterclass as a fantasy writer and emerged with the beginnings of a women’s fiction book. One year later Yes, Chef! was picked up by Penguin. I really admire the time and energy Fiona spends helping new authors realise their potential and their dreams.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

As a new author I’m well aware my best work is yet to come but I learn something with every experience and have made my number one goal to keep improving with every book. Of course, my imagination runs away with itself sometimes, dreaming of film adaptations, but I try not to get too carried away with this and just keep writing.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Don’t listen to too much advice. Find a mentor that you trust, someone who’s had proven success in the genre you write in and then keep referring back to their advice. Above all, write because you love it, because it makes you happy and keeps you sane, not because you think it will make you a lot of money or because you think becoming published will make you feel fulfilled. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful thing to see your dreams realised, but you shouldn’t place so much pressure on yourself to achieve the reward that you fail to enjoy the process.

Lisa, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Yes,Chef! here


Yes, Chef!

by Lisa Joy

Sassy foodie Becca Stone is over her job taking reservations for one of London’s most successful restaurant empires. So when she is unexpectedly catapulted into working as PA to celebrity chef Damien Malone, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime.

Becca is quickly caught up in an exciting whirlwind of travel, reality TV and opening nights, and even her usually abysmal love-life takes a turn for the better. But as Becca is slowly consumed by the chaos of life in the spotlight, she begins to lose touch with her friends, her heart and even with reality. Working with Damien has its challenges and she is soon struggling with his increasingly outrageous demands and sleazy advances, all while managing the ridiculous requests of his self-centred wife. It takes a disastrous trip to Italy for Becca to realise that she may have thrown away exactly what she’s been looking for all along.

Inspired by Lisa Joy’s real-life adventures, this deliciously funny and romantic story is a tantalising llok at the trendy restaurant scene: a world where chefs are treated like rock stars, and cooking isn’t all that goes on in the kitchen.

About the Author

Lisa Joy began writing stories in her teenage years, but decided she needed to get her heart broken and live in another country before pursuing a career as a novelist. Born in Sydney, she spent most of her childhood wearing pink tights and leotards at ballet class.

At age 21, deciding she wasn’t cut out for the famished life of a ballerina, she left her safe and somewhat predictable existence behind and travelled to London, where she worked as a television producer’s PA, in fashion retail and the restaurant business. Having fallen head over heels in love with London, travelling Europe, eating amazing food and the occasional stint on stage and screen, Lisa stayed put for about 7 years, until finally, family called and she returned to Australia to work as PA to a well known Melbourne chef.

Her writing took a dramatic turn for the better after she attended a commercial fiction masterclass with author Fiona McIntosh. She now lives in the picturesque Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne on a small acreage farm with her husband and four chooks where in addition to writing novels, she grows vegetables, berries and herbs to supply to some of Melbourne’s best restaurants.

 Grab a copy of Yes,Chef! here

Georgia Madden, author of Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Georgia Madden

author of Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum

Ten Terrifying Questions
____________

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Here, there and everywhere! I was born on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, but moved to Hong Kong with my family when I was five and lived there until 18. I came back to Australia for university, and moved to London a few weeks after graduating. I lived there for 12 crazy, glamorous, fun-filled years, working in PR and magazines, before returning to Sydney with my family 10 years ago.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At 12, I had dreams of a being an actress, but one disastrous and very embarrassing audition in front of my entire year at school put an end to that. At 18, I had visions of becoming a very serious political journalist, reporting for a Hong Kong newspaper on what was happening across the border in China. I still have no idea why. At 30 I was quite partial to the idea of becoming an editor of a magazine. But always, always, in the back of my mind was the dream of writing fiction. I just never really believed it was possible.

Georgie-Madden

Author: Georgia Madden

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That in order to pursue the things you really want, everything in your life has to be just so. But life doesn’t work like that; if you’re waiting for all your stars to line up perfectly, you’ll be waiting forever. I’ve found that it’s better – and braver – to just jump right in and get the ball rolling, whether you’re ready or not. Fake it till you make it!

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

As a child, anything by Enid Blyton. Her stories swept me away, and they still do today when I read them to my kids. The song Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds. I’m a true child of the 80s, and whenever I hear that song on the radio my mind starts bristling with ideas – always romantic in a tragically teenage kind of way. The beautiful aria in that scene in A Room With A View where George kisses Lucy. I’m not sure whether it was the music or the poppies, but it stayed with me for years.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel? 

I’m not really sure I ever really had a choice! Despite all the twists and turns I took in my career (a used car parts auctioneer in a grotty part of east London at one point) the idea of writing was always there in the background, a steady hum I couldn’t switch off.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum follows new mum Ally Bloom, a dedicated fashionista with a very clear vision of the yummy mummy she’s meant to be – a glamorous Angelina Jolie-type, wafting along red carpets, with her latest accessory, baby Coco, tucked up under her wing. Then reality hits – her marriage is in crisis, her mother-in-law-turns up unannounced for an open-ended stay, the dishwasher won’t stop making that weird banging sound, and she’s pushed aside at work by a 22-year old airhead. Ally suddenly finds herself thrust into her own version of hell – life on the suburban SAHM circuit. Here, she begins to ask life’s bigger questions on motherhood, identity, friendship and whether it’s socially acceptable to leave the house in Havaianas after 7pm.

Grab a copy of Georgia’s new book Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum here

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I would love to think that after getting through one of those nightmarish days with the kids, where every single thing has gone wrong, they can curl up with Confessions and it puts a smile on their face, maybe even makes them laugh. See? There’s a little bit of paying it forward, right there.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

I tend to develop crushes on whoever I’m reading at the time. Most recently it’s been Hannah Kent, Elizabeth Gilbert and Rainbow Rowell. I’ve just finished ‘Dietland’ by Sarai Walker – a sort of gutsy feminist manifesto that sends an arrow straight at the heart of the diet industry. I think I’m in love.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To be able to support myself and my family doing what I love. 

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

We’ve all done it – picked up a book and been blown away by the scale of the story, the beauty of the prose. It’s enough to make you want to give up on the idea of writing before you’ve even begun. But I can’t imagine that anyone’s work resembles the finished product in its early stages. To me, writing a book is a bit like making one of those multi-layered French desserts; it’s a long and time-consuming process of building from the ground up, layer by layer. So my advice is, don’t waste precious time trying to perfect that opening paragraph. Get the bones of your story down – as fast as your fingers can type them – before you even think about trying to turn it into a masterpiece.

Georgia, thank you for playing.

Grab a copy of Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum here


Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum

by Georgia Madden

Successful hubbie? Tick. Facebook-worthy baby? Tick. Bikini-body six weeks after giving birth? Um . . . not so much.

Fashion PR exec Ally Bloom got her happy ending. Okay, her marriage might be showing the odd crack, her battleaxe mother-in-law might have come to stay, and she might not be the yummy mummy she’d imagined, but it’s nothing a decent night’s sleep and a firm commitment to a no-carb diet won’t fix.

But when Ally returns to work and finds she’ll be reporting to a 22-year-old airhead, she decides to turn her back on life as a professional fashionista and embrace her inner earth mama instead. So it’s out with the Louboutins and champagne and in with the sensible flats and coffee mornings with the Mummy Mafia.

From attending her first grown-up dinner party only to discover that placenta is top of the menu to controlling her monster crush on local playgroup hottie Cameron, Ally must find her feet in the brave new world of the stay-at-home mum.

About the Author

Georgia Madden began her career in journalism at Homes & Gardens magazine in London, before returning to Sydney with her young family to work as a freelance writer. She writes for House & Garden, Inside Out and Home Beautiful, as well as a number of interiors websites. She lives in Sydney with her family. Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum is her first novel.

Grab a copy of Confessions Of A Once Fashionable Mum here

Drum roll…. We’re announcing the winners of our April Competitions!

In April we had a myriad of prizes and promotions for you to sink your teeth into.

Let’s wrap a few up and announce the winners of these great prizes, shall we?


Dennis-Jones-Competition-616x150NewsletterBanner-v3

All you had to do to enter was order The Anzacs 100 Years On : In Story and Song by April 30th!

the-anzacs-100-years-on-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-The Anzacs 100 Years On : In Story and Song

by Ted Egan

The Anzacs 100 Years On: In Story and Song is a unique contribution to the commemoration of the centenary of the Anzacs. Ted Egan weaves personal stories and songs into a highly readable history of the Anzacs and the two nations, with amusing anecdotes and tales of great courage and ingenuity serving to leaven somewhat the brutal truth exposed, of a tragic and senseless war.

The soldiers, nurses, politicians, wives, and the mothers who lost their sons, or welcomed them home severely damaged, all feature in this book and its songs.

Egan’s stories and poignant songs infuse the facts with the more…

…and the winner is:

P.Hawkins, Exeter, TAS

Grab a copy of The Anzacs 100 Years On : In Story and Song here


Bolinda-Anzac-Day-Collection-Rotating-Homepage-Banner

All you had to do to enter was buy anything in our Bolinda Anzac Day collection by April 30th!

1914 : The Year the World Ended – Re Issue

1914-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-Author: Paul Ham
Read by: Robert Meldrum

Few years can justly be said to have transformed the earth: 1914 did.

In July that year, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Britain and France were poised to plunge the world into a war that would kill or wound 37 million people, tear down the fabric of society, uproot ancient political systems and set the course for the bloodiest century in human history.

In the longer run, the events of 1914 set the world on the path toward the Russian Revolution, the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of more…

…and the winner is:

A.Poad, Northampton, WA

Check out our Bolinda Anzac Day collection here


9781921383595- Sujet-Saenkham- Rotating-Homepage-Banner

To celebrate the release of Spice I Am, a book of recipes from Sydney-based Thai chef Sujet Saenkham, we gave customers the chance to win a prize, worth $255!

The pack includes to dinner for two at any of Sydney’s Spice I Am restaurants, valued at $150 and the opportunity to attend a Spice I Am cooking class, valued at $105.

spice-i-am

Spice I Am

by Sujet Saenkham

In this much anticipated cookbook Sydney-based Thai chef Sujet Saenkham shares his family recipes for the fresh flavours of regional Thai cooking so you can enjoy authentic Thai food at home.

Leave the Thai takeaway menus in your kitchen drawer, as you learn how to make restaurant favourites such as Sujet’s signature stir-fried crispy pork belly with basil, roasted red duck curry with eggplant, tomato and pineapple and crispy prawn and lemongrass salad, as well as traditional classics like pad Thai, fishcakes and a massaman beef curry from scratch. Throughout, Sujet offers practical advice on finding the ingredients and mastering the cooking techniques you need to create your own Thai feasts at home.

…and the winner is:

P.Chen Matraville, NSW

Check out Spice I Am here


Congratulations to the winners!

Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page, where you could be a winner every day!

promotions

 

Fan of Fleur McDonald or the new movie Home? You might have won…

March and April were amazing months for prizes! We gave three fans of Fleur McDonald the chance to win her backlist pack, worth $99, and fans of the new movie Home the chance to win a Home pack!


emerald-springs-frontpage-spinning-banner

All you had to do to enter was order Emerald Springs before April 30th!

emerald-springsEmerald Springs

by Fleur McDonald

When suspicions are wrongly aimed at Amelia following the theft of proceeds from the local rodeo after a crash and grab, she must work with a skeptical rural detective to clear her name – and that of the man she loves. Mystery and romance abound in the new novel from the bestselling author of Crimson Dawn.

After finishing university, Amelia Bennett returns to Jervois and promptly falls in love with the wonderful – if broke and slightly stubborn – Paul Barnes. Now she’s determined to lose her old reputation for being scatty and unreliable by proving herself as the treasurer of the local rodeo committee and making the more…

…and the winners are:

C. Carr, Longreach, QLD

B.Knight, Dunedoo, NSW

J.Malone, Tumut, NSW

Grab a copy of Emerald Springs here


HOME_Rotating_Homepage_Banner

All you had to do to enter was buy anything in our Home Film Tie-in series by April 30th!

Dreamworks Home Deluxe Colouring & Puzzle Bookdreamworks-home-deluxe-colouring-puzzle-book

Ideal for felt-tip pens!

Join in the adventure as Tip and Oh race to save Earth … and each other! The Home Deluxe Colouring & Puzzle Book ensures heaps of Boovian fun for every Home fan!

The Boov are searching for a new planet to call home. They find the perfect planet in the middle of nowhere – Earth! The Boov kindly relocate all the humans to Happy Humanstown, and then proceed to completely rearrange the planet! By accidentally telling the Boov’s worst enemy where they are, Oh becomes the number one Boov fugitive. Oh meets Tip, the only human left in Boston, and their hilarious journey to friendship begins.

…and the winner is:

A.Parker, South Penrith, NSW

Check out our Home Film Tie-in series here


Congratulations to the winners!

Don’t have a gift for Mother’s Day because your Mum is too hard to buy for?

Get her a gift certificate from Booktopia and she can pick the books she would love to read!

The 2015 Stella Prize awarded to Emily Bitto!

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Tuesday night saw Melbourne writer Emily Bitto take out the Stella Prize for her incredible novel The Strays.

The Stella Prize, which Booktopia was honoured to be a major sponsor of, is fast becoming one of the most prestigious awards on the literary calendar, celebrating Australian women’s writing.

The prize is named after one of Australia’s iconic female authors, Stella Maria Sarah ‘Miles’ Franklin, and was awarded for the first time in 2013. Both nonfiction and fiction books by Australian women are eligible for entry.

 

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the-straysThe Strays – The Stella Prize 2015 Winner

by Emily Bitto

In The Strays, Evan Trentham is the wild child of the Melbourne art world of the 1930s. He and his captivating wife, Helena, attempt to carve out their own small niche, to escape the stifling conservatism they see around them, by gathering together other like-minded artists. They create a utopian circle within their family home, offering these young artists a place to live and work, and the mixed benefits of being associated with the infamous Evan. At the periphery of this circle is Lily Struthers, the best friend of Evan and Helena’s daughter Eva.

Lily is infatuated by the world she bears witness to, and longs to be part of this enthralling makeshift family. As Lily observes years later, looking back on events that she still carries painfully within her, the story of this groundbreaking circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham’s art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.

Grab a copy of The Strays here


emily bittoEmily Bitto lives in Melbourne. She has a Masters in literary studies and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Melbourne, where she is also a sessional teacher and supervisor in the creative writing program. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including Meanjin, Heat, Harvest, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Literary Review. The manuscript of her debut novel, The Strays, was shortlisted for the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.

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